All about energy in Brussels. A Sibelga initiative
en menu
Logo energuide

How to use electrical extension cords properly?

Extension cords come in handy in the summer as well as the winter more than once. They are very practical for Christmas lights in the garden, a barbecue, auxiliary heating or an electrical appliance, but always keep them safe!

Checking the safety

If you have not used your electrical extension cord for a long time, then check whether it can still be used safely.

  • Is the insulation of the cord in a good state from end to end?
  • Are the plug and the contact still intact and earthed? Preferably use a rubber model with a reinforced sealing (IP value 44).
  • Is the connection of the cord and the plug in a good state, and has the contact a cable clamp?

Right, your extension cord is now ready for use.

Connecting 2 cords together

Here is a tip when connecting two cords together:

  • (Loosely) tie the cords together before connecting them.
  • Or use a watertight connector that envelops the connection and blocks the cords, so that they cannot come apart (they can be bought in do-it-yourself shops).

Volledig afrollen

If your extension cord is coiled around a reel, you should completely unwind it before plugging it into a power outlet in order to prevent it from fusing as the result of overheating due to electromagnetic induction.

Connecting an appliance, grill or lamp? Mind the maximum load!

  • Do not use a ‘domino’ plug (they are no longer permitted for sale), but do use a multiple socket for connecting multiple appliances.
  • Check that the total load of all appliances to be connected does not exceed the maximum load capacity of the multiple socket and the cord (for example, 2,500 W).
  • Remember that reels with multiple sockets and a protection device against overheating are available.
  • Also check the capacity of the cord: an extension cord with a diameter of 2.5 m², that is rated at 16 Ampère (A), is better than a cord of 1,5 m², that is only rated at 10 A.

Garden lights 

Using an extension cord in order to illuminate the garden for one evening is safe if you do not leave it there. Remember, there are special rules for a garden lighting system.

Christmas lights that are installed for a prolonged period in severe weather conditions must use only watertight extension cords and multiple sockets.

And if it rains?

A cord that is in a good state can withstand rain. But you should not leave the plug and the contact on wet ground. Use a watertight connector.

Driving over an electric cord

If it is likely that motor vehicles will drive over the cord it is recommended to place a plank on both sides of the cord that is a little thicker than the cord itself. This improvised bridge will prevent the installation from being flattened and bursting open.

Don't miss our new tips

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay informed about energyfacts.

Tips on how to save energy!